5 ways for experienced advisors to get back into prospecting

Your clients are retiring, and you know you need to fill that pipeline -- here are some prospecting tips to remind you how you did it before.

These five strategies are ideal for the experienced advisor. They build on current or past relationships. They aren’t that pushy, either. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Once you get an established clientele, it’s tempting to stop prospecting.  Your mantra is “I grow my business by referrals.”

In reality, prospecting brings back an earlier time in your career.  You thought you left that all behind.  Now clients are moving to Florida or to the cemetery.  You need to replace them.  What can you do?

1.  The lost clients. Over the years some people left. They might have thought the grass was greener elsewhere. They had a relative entering the business. They were energetically prospected by a competitor.

Strategy:  Call them up. Ask if they are all right. You enjoyed working with them as a client.  They were an important client to you. You respect they had their reasons for leaving.  Did everything work out the way they hoped?

Ideal result:  No, things didn’t work out the way they’d hoped. The grass wasn’t greener. Their relative left the business six months later. They were open to coming back, but pride kept them from calling. You met them halfway.

2. Your client’s children. They are future heirs and they are probably adults.  Without a relationship or even initial contact with you, they will likely move assets away when they inherit.  However, with your client as your cheerleader-in-chief, they might open accounts with you and become clients now.

Strategy: Call your client. Suggest meeting their children. If they ask why, mention their names are all over the investment accounts and insurance policies. They will eventually meet you when they inherit.  Wouldn’t it be better if it was under happier circumstances than a funeral?

Ideal result: The kids need insurance. They need investment advice. You’ve earned their parent’s trust. Square peg, square hole.

3. Educational seminar. Now that the new tax act has been around for a while, clients are wondering how they will be affected. They subconsciously feel if they called their CPA and asked, they would be charged for their time. They have friends in the same boat.

Strategy: Find a speaker or get a compliance-approved presentation from the firm. Invite clients to your office or a decent-looking space large enough to hold them. If there are expenses involved, see if a marketing partner will match you dollar for dollar. Encourage your clients to bring friends. Get contact details.

Ideal result: Clients learn something. So do their friends. They wonder “Should I be doing anything different with my investments?” You have that conversation with them.

4. Referrals. You have a client who had a problem. You solved it. They are thrilled. Remind them. Ask who else they know with the same problem. You would like them to introduce you.

Strategy:  Verbally, you script the conversation for them.  “I had a problem. My advisor solved it. You have the same problem. My advisor is taking me out for drinks on Thursday. He said I could bring a guest. Why don’t you come along?”

Ideal result: They come along. After getting to know each other, you take the guest aside for confidentiality’s sake. They explain their problem. You explain the solution.  The next day, they check with their friend. They give you a positive review. They call you up and say “I’m interested.”

5.  Do your friends know what you do?  We fool ourselves by thinking they do.  We think we know what they do too. They might have done that five years ago, when you first met. They have moved around at the company. The best way to have a reason to tell your story is to ask them theirs.

Strategy: The next time you see them 1:1, express interest in what they do. Give them the 10-word overview of what you assume. Let them fill in the blanks. They will likely ask the same question of you. Years ago, an advisor related an expression they learned in training – ask: “When you tell your friends about me, what is it that you say that I do?”  Since they’ve probably never talked about you professionally, they will take a guess. That’s your opening.

Ideal result: You tailored your explanation to their needs. Now they see where you can help.  They have problems. They need solutions. You might be able to help.

These five strategies are ideal for the experienced advisor. They build on current or past relationships. They aren’t that pushy, either.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.  He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry.  His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.

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